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Guess Who’s to Blame for the Skyrocketing Cost of Higher Ed

Ever wonder why the cost of college always goes up, never goes down, and has been rising so much faster than inflation?  The short answer is because out of control government has poured more and more funding into financial aid and loan programs since 1978, when federal aid first exploded.  It’s another prime example of how good-intentioned liberalism has created another big, expensive mess for our society.  Sometimes it’s better to base public policy on economic principles than to allow emotional appeals to “compassion” and “students” to repeatedly carry the day. Universities publish their “sticker price” but with all the financial...

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What Kinds of Jobs Are We Talking About?

I’ve written several times in recent months about how Center of the American Experiment is gearing up for a multi-year project that will make the case that large numbers of young people, feeling pressed to seek four-year college degrees even though they really don’t want to, wind up dropping out, minus good jobs and routinely in big debt.  This is so even though they, in fact, could have won good jobs and started building solid middle-class careers if they had pursued different kinds of post-secondary training, including one- and two-year certificate programs in community and technical colleges, the excellent job...

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Chile’s School Choice Success Story

America could learn a lot from Chile’s education success story.  Former Chilean ambassador Dario Paya wrote a brilliant Weekly Standard piece outlining their amazing turnaround after dramatically expanding school choice in 1980.  Before vouchers Chile was near the bottom of educational achievement in Latin American, now they are at the top.  And the reason has not been more spending! How did very poor and rural children fair under the new system? Chile recognized that some kids—primarily the very poor and rural—were being "left behind." But the way to fix that problem was not to get rid of vouchers, but to expand the...

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Blocking the School House Door

I thought we had a consensus that blocking school house doors is a bad thing, but apparently not. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made her first visit to a public school today, a middle school in Washington, D.C. A group of hateful protesters showed up and blocked her from entering the school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC_t5T2tGdg The Washington Teachers' Union also sponsored a demonstration, but they claim that the left-wing activists who blocked the school house door--shades of George Wallace!--were not with them. Whoever these people are, they should be ashamed of themselves. They are doing their best to deprive American children of more choice...

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Mayhem In the Schools

The Center's Kathy Kersten has an article about violence in the St. Paul public schools in this month's City Journal. Over the last six months, Kathy has brought both local and national attention to this critical education issue. How can children possibly learn if they are constantly worried about their physical safety? In the Obama years, America’s public education system embarked on a vast social experiment that threatened to turn schools into educational free-fire zones. The campaign—carried out in the name of “racial equity”—sought to reduce dramatically the suspension rate of black students, who get referred for discipline at much higher...

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Secretary Betsy DeVos: The First Cabinet Pick Ever Saved by the Vice President

We saw DeVos graciously take hits from people like Sen. Al Franken during her confirmation. Now that the confirmation muzzle is off, I would like to see DeVos land some blows of her own. If she is not aggressively making the case for educational choice, and calling out the government unions that enforce the status quo, they could succeed in making her the issue instead of advancing new policies. ...

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The Many Virtues and Similarities of Transatlantic Plumbing

The British government announced last week that it would spend 170 million pounds (the equivalent of about $213 million) developing a series of “Institutes of Technology” intended as “credible alternative[s]” to well-worn routes many young people take to more academically oriented universities.  As reported by Times Higher Education, the new Institutes are part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s industrial policy, in which “technical education will get a radical shake-up so as to ‘level the playing field’ for those who do not go to university.” The Prime Minister was “expected” to say that the strategy would be a “critical part of the...

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Critics of school choice bear the burden of proof now

Note: In recognition of School Choice Week we are reprinting this commentary by Center Founder Mitch Pearlstein, which appeared December 6, 1996 in the Pioneer Press.  Mitch and American Experiment have led this quest for real school choice from the very first days of the Center's founding 27 years ago.  Mitch currently chairs of OAK, Opportunity for All Kids, a diverse coalition of educational leaders and advocates, including the Minnesota Independent School Forum, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Minnesota District, Center of the American Experiment, and the Minnesota Catholic Conference.   A useful way of evaluating Gov. Arne Carlson’s pathbreaking proposal on school choice is...

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Kim Crockett on the Betsy DeVos Nomination as Secretary of Education

Just in time to celebrate National School Week, Kim Crockett had a great conversation on KTLK’s “Justice and Drew” show about the Education Secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos, last week. You can listen to that conversation here. Here’s Kim: “Government union leaders are apoplectic over the DeVos nomination because DeVos has been defeating them at the local level for years. (Can we pause, just to enjoy that thought?) DeVos speaks up for teachers who see themselves as educators and professionals, not trade unionists.” And join us this Thursday! A COMMUNITY BREAKFAST IN CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK (Click to register) Location: DeLaSalle High School, One...

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Chicago Tribune Defends Betsy DeVos and School Choice

The Chicago Tribune issued a terrific editorial last week supporting school choice, calling out senators for their unfair treatment of Betsy DeVos, and exposing Democrats' hypocrisy on the issue: Like many televised events on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing of Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos alternated between interrogation and crass disparagement. DeVos tried to answer loaded policy questions, mostly from Democrats, only to be interrupted by senators whose aim was to discredit her qualifications. Sen. Elizabeth Warren once supported vouchers U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., waved off DeVos after the Tuesday evening hearing, refusing to shake her hand. Like DeVos, Warren once supported school choice and...

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